Tuesday, April 28, 2015


The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), highest consumer court in India, passed a historic judgment granting an award of Rs. 1.1 crore (Rs. 1 crore compensation plus Rs. 10 lakh as “punitive damage”) against the Apollo Hospital in New Delhi for wrongful delivery of a child causing permanent damage in his brain in a botched up medical procedure in 1999 (see the entire judgment below). 
This historic compensation was allowed on the basis of Anuradha Saha decision by the Supreme Court in 2013 in which the Apex Court awarded a total of more than Rs. 11.5 crore as compensation and held that compensation involving “medical negligence” cannot be calculated using the straight-jacket formula of “multiplier” method that had been the norm until then. Apart from Anuradha Saha’s case, this is the second highest compensation in Indian medical history against a top hospital like Apollo. Following the principles set in Anuradha Saha case, NCDRC has directed Apollo Hospital to pay Rs. 80 lakh and the main accused doctor, Dr. Sohini Verma, to pay Rs. 20 lakh. 
The “punitive” or exemplary damage of Rs. 10 lakh is also significant in context of Indian medical practice because “punitive” damages are awarded (mostly in Western countries) against an act of social significance and thus, all future cases of “medical negligence” where the doctor/hospital is found guilty, “punitive” damages should be awarded by the state and district consumer forums. 
This historic judgment by the National Consumer Forum will undoubtedly bring a ray of hope for the thousands of hapless victims of medical negligence who have been waiting for their day of justice. It will also send a strong signal to the negligent doctors and hospitals in India.

Monday, April 27, 2015

'Judiciary, CBI can't afford to be imperfect': Jaitley

New Delhi, Apr. 27 (ANI): Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said the judiciary and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) were two institutions which cannot afford to be imperfect.

"Nobody is expected to be perfect, but if there are two institutions which we cannot afford to be imperfect, one is the judiciary and the
second is the CBI," Jaitley said during the 16th D.P. Kohli Memorial lecture on 'Economic Challenges' here.
"Any Investigative agency's responsibility is huge, its discretion is also very large," he added.

Jaitley further described fiscal year 1991 as a defining moment for India, which marked a process where the country decided to unleash energies of its citizens rather than restricting them.
"India decided to discard a politics which wanted to distribute existing resources and even distribute poverty rather than generate wealth," he added.

The Finance Minister, however, said that the year 2014 had brought significant changes for the nation.
"After 30 years we had a clear mandate and a government with virtually a single party majority was voted into power," Jaitley added. (ANI)

By implication, does it mean that the political class can afford to be corrupt.
Regarding both the judiciary and the CBI, it is again the political class which is a bad influence on them.
The powers at the centre, uses the CBI to do its hatchet job and act according to its dictates.
The political class too tries to instal a committed judiciary. 
We have seen lately how the judges who have given favourable judgement for Modi and Amit Shah have been rewarded.
A lawyer who held their briefs has been promoted to the Supreme Court and a Supreme Court Chief Justice who gave a favourable decision has been made Governor in Kerala and the same judge has been made chariman of NHRC so that Modi's strangling of Human Rights in India is not questioned just as they were not questioned in Gujarat.
And Mr. Jailtley talks of "imperfect judiciary" 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

PM Modi's metro ride emphasizes on use of public transport

New Delhi, Apr. 25 (ANI): Minister of State for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar on Saturday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sent out a message to the people across the country to use public transport more often by travelling in the Delhi Metro.
"Today the Prime Minister led by example. The world is discussing climate change and the Prime Minister is saying that Indian lifestyle is environmental friendly. He wants people to practice relying on public transport more, people should opt out using private vehicles, use cycles on some occasions. He is giving new ideas of how we can rekindle our life which is environment friendly. This emphasizes the need to use public transport more and that is a big message," Javadekar said.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said that Prime Minister Modi's actions show that he is connected to common people.
"Modi ji rose to the stature of Prime Minister but he started his life as a common man. He is always concerned with the feelings, requirements and other things associated with the common man. His style of politics is such that he is always concerned about the life of common man," he said.
Prime Minister Modi earlier in the day travelled from the Dhaula Kuan to the Dwarka Sector 21 on the Airport Express Line of the Delhi Metro. He was accompanied by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. (ANI)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Sikh Taxi Driver Responds to Racism Like a Hero

Why wasn't Alam arrested under National Security Act, asks Digvijay

New Delhi, Apr. 17 (ANI): Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Friday sought to know why separatist leader Masarat Alam was not charged under the National Security Act.

"They have much to explain. They first of all need to clarify under what sections they have been arrested. Number one, why house arrest? Why they haven't been sent to the jail, as in, because what they have said and what they have done amounts to waging a war against the nation," Singh said.
"They should be charged under the National Security Act. Why have they not done it?" he added.

Earlier in the day, as a preventive measure to maintain law and order, Alam and another separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani had been put under house arrest. Alam was later arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir police.
The People's Democratic Party (PDP), though, denied that Alam had been arrested under pressure from Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh or Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

The PDP's alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party, meanwhile, sought to assert that it follows a principle of zero-tolerance towards terrorism and separatism. (ANI)

What is the difference between Ayed Ali Shah Geelani, Masrat Alam and Raj Thackeray?
I find no difference between them.
If Raj Thackeray can bark obscene comments and sprue venom against people coming from outside Maharashtra and  successive government can just look the look the other way, then the PDP and BJP is doing just that.
The BJP is in power in both Maharashtra and Jammu & Kashmir(piggy back on the PDP). Any anti-national outbirsts should be put down with an iron hand.
The BJP fails in both places as the Congress did earlier. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What to do after you have recovered from a cardiac attack?

One of our friends, Bhaskar Paul has had a cardiac attack and asked for suggestions. Who could give a better suggestion that a person who has had two angios done on him, had seen his own brother suffer a major heart attack and been able to save him by God's grace and had seen his cousin die from valve problems at Devi Shetty's Hospital in Bangalore.
The best course is to live a healthy life style as I do and have given below.
Bhaskar you are blessed in that you have survived an attack.
There are many who do not get that chance also.
I myself have had to undergo two angios in a span of 18 months, about thirteen years ago.
The second one was entirely my fault as I had become so confident on the effectiveness of Ramdeo's Pranayam that I had stopped taking my doctor's prescribed medicine, including Ecospirin.
God was kind in that He gave me a third chance and now besides taking all allopathic medicines, i also take Ayurvedic and Homopathic medicines.
Life is too precious for us to play the fool with our medicines.
I practise the following exercise/medicine/diet schedule which if you follow, should help you too.
In the morning after bath etc, I follow Ramdeoji's pranayam schedule. Bhastika, Kapalbhati and Anulom Bilom.
While doing my Pranayam, I listen to Smt Jaya Rao's discourse on the Bhavad Gita.
After Pranayam I take 15 drops of Tonicard (for heart) in 1/4 cup of plain water and 10 drops each of (Cephalandra + Gymnema Sylvestr) in 1/4 cup of water - for my diabetes.
After Pranayam I do Pooja, and then I take two tea spoons of slightly roasted & ground flaxseed with 1/8th teaspoon of Cinnamon powder. After 10 minutes, I take a bowl of oats. After 30 minutes, I take a glass of vegetable cum fruit juice. Just before going to office I take 4 biscuits with tea (just liquor without milk or sugar).
In the office I carry the following.
A small container of Salad (slices of cucumber + carrots + Tomato + grapes). I take this around noon.
Another larger container of cut papaya is taken at around 1 to 1.30 PM
My lunch, taken at around 2 to 2.30 pm consists of just three chapatis (just roasted - called Phoolka) with green vegetable curry.
At around 4.30 to 5.0 PM I take an apple.
On returning home, at 7.15 PM I take 4 biscuits with liquor tea.
Dinner is at 8.30 to 9.00 PM again 3 chapatis with Kadhi/dal and one vegetable curry.
After dinner I take my allopathic medicine for diabetes, cholestorol and ecospirin.
We try to go to bed by 10.0 to 10.30 PM
I do not take any alcohol or smoke cigarettes, never got into the habit.

For all the household marketing and other chores, I never take a rickshaw. So my walking exercise is done this way.
One thing I can say is that I could never maintain the above schedule without the cooperation of my wife and daughter-in-laws, who keep everything ready and give it to me as and when required.
So the actual credit should be given to them.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Glare on cash source to file PILs

Gandhinagar, April 10: Union finance minister Arun Jaitley today said it should be mandatory for those filing PILs against the government's development projects to declare their source of funds.

The suggestion came a day after the Centre barred Greenpeace India from receiving foreign funds for six months and froze its bank accounts, alleging the environmental group had "prejudicially affected" the country's public and economic interests "in violation" of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.

Stating that many PILs were influenced by the source of funds, Jaitley suggested that petitioners should attach to the PILs a document declaring the origin of funding.

The minister appeared to be speaking along the lines of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had recently cautioned the judiciary against being influenced by perceptions driven by "five-star activists".

Speaking at a conference on regulatory framework for India's first international financial services centre, Jaitley said: "Since the debate is on, I wonder if it is not such a bad idea to make it mandatory for anybody who files PIL to disclose his source of funding.

"For contesting an election, I have to disclose my assets and income. Civil servants also have to disclose their income and assets.... Those who file PILs against development works must be more transparent than us as they call themselves crusaders. People should know from where they are getting funds to file these PILs."

Jaitley said he was raising the issue because PILs were often inspired by funding sources themselves. He questioned the intentions of "conscience crusaders" who used the PIL as a weapon to derail development projects.

An example, he said, was the Gujarat International Finance Tech City - the international financial services centre is coming up there - which had to face several legal hurdles because activists filed PILs after its foundation stone was laid in 2011.
"I believe that it should be mandatory to declare their funding sources and that document should also be attached with the PIL," Jaitley said.

Modi, addressing a joint conference of chief justices of high courts and chief ministers last Sunday, had said while the judiciary was getting powerful, it was necessary that it also became "perfect" to live up to the expectations of people.
"It is easy to deliver judgments based on the law and the Constitution. There is a need to be cautious against perception-driven verdicts," Modi had said, adding that "perceptions are often driven by five-star activists".

I would wholely agree with Mr. Arun Jaitley that those who file PILs should declare the source of their funds.
Then, shouldn't the BJP also declare where it got the Rs 10000 crores it spent on the parliamentary elections and the Rs 400 crores it spent on the Delhi elections. If the BJP wants other to declare their source of funds. shouldn't the BJP do the same?

Diesel vehicles: Ministry to move court against tribunal order

The Road Transport Ministry is looking to take legal recourse against the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order that calls for banning over 10-year-old diesel vehicles in the National Capital Region (NCR), even as experts point out that the condition of a vehicle should be taken into account.
The Ministry has already moved the Supreme Court against an earlier NGT order calling for a ban on 15-year-old vehicles, saying such a ban should apply only to commercial vehicles, not private ones.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Government has called a meeting on Monday with neighbouring Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, to discuss the modalities for implementing the order.
To add to all this, the All India Motor Transport Congress has threatened that Monday onwards, no vehicle will enter Delhi if the Government does not look into the issue.
Stakeholders are questioning the grounds of the ban, its “suddenness”, execution and impact.
“The level of emission should be defined. Otherwise, such a move will cause panic among public,” said a senior transport official.
Vijay Chhibber, Secretary, Road Transport, said: “It (emission) depends on vehicle maintenance. The Government will take a view.”
Questioning mere replacement of vehicles as a panacea for pollution, V Shekhar Awasthy, Chief Data Scientist, Aileron Analytics Consulting, said: “When you replace an existing diesel vehicle with another (petrol or CNG), you buy 1,000 kg to 2,000 kg of steel. Has anyone paid any attention to the pollution caused by first processing iron to steel sheets and then, further processing this to auto components?”
Environmentalists, however, welcomed the order. Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director, Centre for Science and Environment, said emission norms of diesel vehicles in any case are more relaxed.
We Indians are very conservative and do not declare anything obsolete. We prefer to maintain it and let it run probably as long as the owner.
However, the automobile lobby is finding their sales stagnant as the the road surface is fixed and the number of vehicles the roads could accommodate has reached stagnation point hence the pressure on the government and the courts to ease out old vehicles so that new ones are bought.
If the old vehicles pass the pollution test why should one want to change them?
This is another western fad that is infiltrating India under the garb of reducing pollution.
Western countries throw way anything that goes old, including their wives and parents.
That is why even before marriage, they make a contract as to who would get what in the event of a divorce, which is most likely.
For them dumping an old car and buying a new one is cheaper than maintaining an old one for maintenance is very expensive there. 
I am all for replacement if the cost of replacement is less than the cost of running the old one.
Reminds me of an old Surendra Sharma joke.
A Jat was told by hospital superintendent where he had got his wife admitted, that his wife was ill and they would take Rs 1.0 lakh for operation.
The Jat replied wryly that he could get a new Jatni for Rs 10 thousand, so why spend Rs 1.0 lakh.

Friday, April 10, 2015


In a scathing judgment delivered yesterday, Central Information Commission (CIC), highest authority for enforcement of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, has directed Fortis Hospital in Delhi to provide the entire medical records to an advocate whose father died from alleged medical negligence (see the entire CIC judgment below). The son claimed that negligence and maltreatment by the hospital caused his father’s death and sought the medical records from the Fortis Hospital to establish his case but the hospital denied his request (under RTI Act) on the plea that the requested information was “private, confidential and privileged”. Rejecting the claim by the Fortis Hospital, CIC has held that malpractice by private hospitals “amounting to medical terrorism”. The CIC has ended this remarkable judgment by calling that the government, MCI and other regulatory authorities have to see that “license to practice medicine will not become license to kill and extort and come to the rescue of the helpless patients”.

The above is PBT India.
The original article may be read on with actual judgement

Obituary - Ramdhari Agarwal

I am sad inform all that Ramdhari Agarwal, one of my batch mates throughout  school life expired yesterday, 09.04.2015. 
He had been suffering from cancer for the last few months and had undergone treatment in Delhi and Mumbai. 
He was a very gentle soul and we had never seen him get angry. 
May his soul rest in peace and may God give his family the strength to bear the loss.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Greenpeace says will respond to MHA's alleged smear campaign

New Delhi, Apr.9 (ANI): Greenpeace India today responded to news reports, which claimed that the organisation's FCRA license has been suspended and a showcause notice has been issued to the NGO.
Though, Greenpeace India has so far received no official communication from the Ministry of Home Affairs, the NGO said in a statement to the media that it is seeking legal counsel on the information that is available on the Ministry of Home Affairs' website.
Greenpeace India Executive Director, Samit Aich said: "This is a smear, pure and simple. All of this was put before the Delhi High Court when we brought a case against the Centre, and the court decided in our favour. This feels like a revealing moment, one that says much more about the MHA than it does about Greenpeace. We believe in the Indian legal system. A campaign is being waged against dissent, but we will not be cowed."
On January 20, the Delhi High Court had directed the MHA to transfer the blocked foreign funds from Greenpeace International and Climate Works Foundation to Greenpeace India's accounts declaring MHA's actions to be arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional upholding the legitimacy of the issues that the NGO takes up in India. The High Court observed that the Ministry of Home Affairs in its reply had stated that Greenpeace India can have access to all other foreign funds except Greenpeace International as Greenpeace International has been put on a watch-list. But it was observed that no material was put on record against Greenpeace International.
Aich added that "We will continue to work towards clean air, clean water and inclusive development in India because we believe that every citizen is entitled to it. Our work is supported by people of this country and 70 percent of Greenpeace India's funds come from Indian donors."
Greenpeace India added 30,746 new supporters, taking its tally of financial supporters within India to 77,768. In all, the group received INR 30.36 crore, of which INR 20.76 crore was given by supporters within India. (ANI)

Government mulls diluting Whistleblower Protection Act

Posted on April 08, 2015 from Delhi, National

In a blow to fight against corruption, the Centre is considering to dilute Whistleblower Protection Act by incorporating necessary provisions for "strengthening safeguards against disclosures which may affect sovereignty and integrity of the country".
Anti-corruption activists say the proposed amendment will weaken the fight against graft in sensitive sectors like the defence and various sensitive ministries, and pointed out that several scams and scandals like the Bofors, Scorpene, Tatra truck and AgustaWestland have been exposed in the past by whistleblowers.
Whistleblower Protection Act 2011 is an Act of Parliament of India which provides a mechanism to investigate alleged cases of corruption and misuse of power by public servants and also protect anyone who exposes alleged wrongdoing in government bodies, projects and offices. The wrongdoing might take the form of fraud, corruption or mismanagement. The Act also ensures punishment for false or frivolous complaints.
"The government is considering a proposal for amendments to the Whistleblower Protection Act 2011 so as to incorporate necessary provision aimed at strengthening the safeguards against disclosures which may pre-judicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of the country," said a reply received by activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal from the Central department of Personnel and Training.
"Corruption, scams and scandals relating to public authorities in sectors relating to national security and sovereignty have been exposed in the past. It will be better if the proposed amendments to Whistleblower Protection Act may not be applicable for whistleblowers exposing matters of corruption even though such aspects of corruption may relate to organisations concerned with national security," Agrawal said.
"As the Bill was taken up on the last day of the last session of the 15th Lok Sabha, the official amendment of the Bill (aimed at safeguarding against disclosures affecting sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the state) were not moved. The proposed amendment is of crucial nature and therefore the Act can be brought into force only after necessary amendments are carried out," said the response.
The government move comes at a time when the Supreme Court is considering strengthening of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) by attaching independent investigators to it. CVC admitted before the court that it has been a total failure in tackling graft in Central and state government offices brought to its attention by the whistleblowers.
An affidavit filed in the apex court by CVC on how it dealt with 3,634 complaints received from whistleblowers since January 2007 to September 2014 from all over India, was an absolute shocker. Out of the 3,634 complaints in eight years, only 1,063 went forward after initial screening.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Waste not want Not - A message from Ratan Tata

The following was posted by Ratan Tata 
Germany is a highly industrialized country. In such a country, many will think its people lead a luxurious life.
When we arrived at Hamburg , my colleagues walked into the restaurant, we noticed that a lot of tables were empty. There was a table where a young couple was having their meal. There were only two dishes and two cans of beer on the table. I wondered if such simple meal could be romantic, and whether the girl will leave this stingy guy.
There were a few old ladies on another table. When a dish is served, the waiter would distribute the food for them, and they would finish every bit of the food on their plates.
As we were hungry, our local colleague ordered more food for us.When we left, there was still about one third of un-consumed food on the table.
When we were leaving the restaurant, the old ladies spoke to us in English, we understood that they were unhappy about us wasting so much food.
"We paid for our food, it is none of your business how much food we left behind," my colleague told the old ladies. The old ladies were furious. One of them immediately took her hand phone out and made a call to someone. After a while, a man in uniform from Social Security organisation arrived. Upon knowing what the dispute was, he issued us a 50 Euro fine. We all kept quiet.
The mindset of people of this rich country put all of us to shame. WE REALLY NEED TO REFLECT ON THIS. We are from country which is not very rich in resources. To save face, we order large quantity and also waste food when we give others a treat.
(Courtesy: A friend who is now changed a lot)
THE LESSON IS:- THINK SERIOUSLY ABOUT CHANGING OUR BAD HABITS. Expecting acknowledgment, that u read the message and forward to your contacts.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Angelina Jolie Effect

Recently the Hollywood actress got her ovaries removed because of ovarian cancer risk. Experts explain more about this procedure
Almost a year ago, actress Angelina Jolie made a public revelation about having undergone a preventive mastectomy after being diagnosed with faulty BRCA1 gene. Recently, she made another public revelation of getting her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed  because of her risk of ovarian cancer. Such bold revelations have got people talking about such taboo-like health topics. We asked experts about the procedure of removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes associated with ovarian cancer risk.
Gene testing
The BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene testing help determine the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and is done in India too. “The BRCA1 gene is the more dominant one of the two, and if there’s a defect in it the chances of cancer occur from 20 to 25 per cent by the age of 50 and 40 to 45 per cent by the age of 70. In the case of defect in the BRCA2 gene, the chances of cancer are not very high, say 20 per cent by the age of 70,” opines Dr Hemant Tongaonkar, consultant uro-gynegology oncology surgeon, Hinduja Healthcare Surgical.
Cost factor
BRCA 1 and 2 testing is available in India. Estimated cost is `24,900. We have hereditary breast cancer panel which contains additional 14 genes along with BRCA1 and 2 which diagnose additional mutations responsible for causing breast cancer (cost `31,500) which may be missed otherwise if testing is restricted to BRCA1 and 2, informs Dr Nandita Palshetkar, head of IVF, Lilavati Hospital.
Who’s at risk?
Dr Tongaonkar says that if there are two to three members female members with a history of breast or ovarian cancer in the maternal side of the family, then it would be advisable for a woman to underdo BRCA1 and 2 testing. Also, these cancers are seen more among women who delay having their first child till late and those who don’t have children. Generally it’s menopausal and post-menopausal women who are detected with ovarian cancer but now even women in their 30s are having this issue.
Age group for ovarian cancer is decreasing
Dr Meghal J Sanghavi, consultant onco surgery, Wockhardt Hospital says, “The most common age group for diagnosing risk for ovarian cancer would ideally be a decade before the risk for developing ovarian cancer, which is between 30 to 50 years of age. For eg. if a mother has ovarian cancer diagnosed at the age of 53 years with a genetic mutation and so does her daughter have the same mutation, then the daughter’s risk of developing ovarian cancer would be a decade prior, which is about 43 years. Hence, screening for the gene should be done at an earlier age in the high risk groups.”
She adds that the age group for ovarian cancer is decreasing. Infact, the age group for all cancers is seen to be decreasing. The reasons being:
- Lifestlyle changes, stress which leads to hormonal imbalances.
- Obesity, inadvertant hormone therapies.
- As mentioned earlier the chances of developing ovarian cancer in a genetically positive background reduces by a decade.
Removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes sufficient?
What if a woman decides to go the Angelina Jolie way? Is the removal of fallopian tubes and ovaries sufficient or the uterus needs to be removed too? Gynaecologist Dr Suman  Bijlani explains that for prevention of ovarian cancer, removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes is sufficient. However, if the woman has completed her family and has any other uterine problem which warrants removal, she may decide to have the uterus removed at the same sitting.
Is it recommended?
Dr Palshetkar says that uterus and ovaries are removed for variety of reasons like heavy bleeding, fibroids, endometriosis and cancer. Removal of ovary and uterus for hereditary risk of cancer is entirely a patient’s decision taken after consultation with a qualified doctor after careful consideration of factors like severity of risk, family history and age of the patient, etc.
Will phantom pain occur?
Phantom pain varies from person to person and only a few people experience it. It may be related to normal healing process after surgery and is significantly reduced after a few months.
Cost factor
The cost of surgery for removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes would vary depending on the hospital, city and class (general ward or special room). It may range from about `25,000 to `1.5 lakh depending on the above factors.
Effects of menopause
Removal of the ovaries before menopause causes a sudden drop in the female hormone oestrogen in the body. This is known as surgical menopause. Women undergoing surgical menopause may experience hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness and reduced sexual drive and have a higher chance of developing thinning of bones (osteoporosis) and coronary heart disease. Most of these symptoms can be managed effectively with appropriate treatment. However, women who have their ovaries removed, especially at a younger age may face a higher risk of dying from hip fracture or coronary heart disease, explains Dr Bijalni.
Will Angelina drive the stigma away?
Will a global female icon like Angelina Jolie talking about her personal health issue openly, make the stigma go away? Dr Bijlani says that medically, removal of ovaries causes loss of the feminine hormone (which may be replaced by hormonal replacement therapy). “‘Feminity’ is a concept, I believe. To each woman, it has its own meaning. Collectively, society does tend to associate menstruation and uterus with feminity. It takes a strong role model like Angelina to prove to the world that a woman can be woman enough without breasts and ovaries! This is certainly a step towards dispelling the stigma and myth associated with ‘loss of feminity.’”
Dr Sanghvi says that awareness created by openly discussing the facts about how these preventive surgeries can save lives in high risk women who have undergone genetic testing like Angelina will help society accept and realise that it’s no longer a stigma but is the need of the hour.
The above is from DNA

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Transgender Bangladeshi Changes Perceptions After Catching Murder Suspects

Julfikar Ali Manik reported from Dhaka, and Ellen Barry from New Delhi.

DHAKA, Bangladesh — In an alleyway off a marketplace
 specializing in meat and live chickens, up a few narrow,
 precipitous flights of cement stairs, can be found the most
sought-after transgender crime fighter in Bangladesh.

Reporters from newspapers and television stations are
combing Dhaka looking for her, and so are police officials,
who said they would like to give her an award for bravery.
But since Monday, when she nabbed two suspects in the
killing of a blogger , the woman, Labannya Hijra,
21 — who takes her last name from the South Asian term  
for biological males who identify as women — has melted
back into the city where she has been invisible for so long.

After three days of searching, a reporter found her on
Thursday, and she agreed to tell her story publicly for the
first time. She was willing to speak only after her mentor,
another hijra named Sapna Hijra, granted her permission.

The blogger, Oyasiqur Rhaman, 27, was attacked by three
young men, who had reportedly been ordered to kill him for
writing comments critical of Islam on social media.
Ms. Hijra grabbed the T-shirts of the fleeing men, who
were students. As they struggled in her grasp, a machete
fell out of one man’s bag and clattered to the ground.
One of the men whacked at her hand and shouted at her to
let him go, and she yelled back, “Shut up!”

“We in the hijra community, we don’t want any terrorist
activity in this society,” she said. “We want an environment
where each and every person, including hijras, can move
around the city safely.”

It is surprising that anyone intervened after Monday’s brutal
attack, not least a member of a marginalized minority.
After months of violent political protests and deteriorating
security, Dhaka has become a place where witnesses prefer
to forget. On Feb. 26, a group of young men killed Avjit Roy ,
 an atheist Bangladeshi-American blogger and author, on a
crowded street as he left a book fair.
“Not less than 10 to 12 people saw the attack,” said the victim’s
father, Ajoy Roy, but the police were unable to get useful
descriptions from witnesses. “Either they are not interested
or they could not find them.”

The Dhaka Tribune reported on Tuesday that locals were
reluctant to chase Mr. Rhaman’s killers. Ms. Hijra said she
caught two of the men as they ran past her, pursued by police
officers and civilians. When the police caught up to her, they
arrested the men, and Ms. Hijra made herself scarce. The third suspect escaped.

She hesitated to come forward, fearing that the killers’
associates would remember her face. She considered fleeing
to the village where she grew up.

But over the next several days, she began to notice that,
even without identifying herself, she was getting an
unusual degree of respect.
“Some people, when they see me, they say, ‘You did a
fantastic job, you grabbed the terrorists,’ ” she said.
 “So there is some new appreciation of our hijra

Transgender people occupy an unusual social stratum in
South Asia, where conservative societies still consider
same-sex intercourse to be a crime but also allow the
existence of a third gender — a well-established category
that dates back to the age of the “Kama Sutra.” Nepal,
Pakistan, Bangladesh and India have all legally recognized the
existence of a third gender, including on passports and
other official documents.

Ms. Hijra recognized herself as a hijra as a child, and left
home at 9 in the company of an older transgender woman.
In Dhaka, she joined a rigidly hierarchical commune
headed by Sapna Hijra, whom she refers to as “guru-ma,”
or revered leader. They make their living by a traditional,
low-stakes protection scheme: asking shopkeepers for
small sums of money and creating a noisy racket on the
street outside if they refuse. The business model depends
 heavily on the belief that hijras have the power to invoke curses.

She lives in a tin-roofed shanty and earns about $4 a day
“We don’t have a normal life; we are not normal human
beings,” she said. “Sometimes I hate myself when I think
I am a hijra.”
But on the other hand, she said, “many people love us,
because we are helpless and deprived.”
On Thursday, speaking about the attack in the presence
of her guru, Ms. Hijra was asked whether she would
appear in person to accept congratulations from the
police. She looked expectantly at Sapna Hijra, who
said, “Why not?”
“Yes, I can expect to receive an award,” Ms. Hijra
said happily. “I grabbed two terrorists.”